The fate of a preschool program for low income children in the Northern Lehigh School District could be in jeopardy.
Assistant Superintendent Karen Nicholas told the school board on Monday that it must decide whether the district would fund the Head Start Program so that it may continue at Peters Elementary.
Nicholas noted that the program - now in its seventh year in the district - had previously been funded by Accountability Block Grant funds. Currently, the program serves about 20 students in the classroom, she said.
"We have received news that the Accountability Block Grant will not be continued next year," Nicholas said. "You have a decision to make to keep the program through the use of district funds."
The program would cost the district $108,500 to fund, Nicholas said. Of that, $64,500 would be needed for the support of going into the homes, as well as to pay for two teachers in the classroom and classroom materials, while the other $44,000 would be for transportation, she said.
Nicholas told the board it needs to make a decision by the end of this month, so that she can get back to Community Services for Children, with whom the district has a working relationship with.
However, Superintendent Michael Michaels told Nicholas he believes that at this point in time, it would be prudent for the board to wait and see how things play out.
Director Gregory Williams, who has been a staunch supporter of the program, added he believes the only way the district could afford the program is if funds become available from outside the district.
This past August, the board agreed to utilize funds for a full-day kindergarten teacher, and to restore the preschool program for low income children.
Nicholas told the board at that time that the district would be able to use the $128,429 in ABG funds it received; of that $98,514 was used to reinstitute its Pre-K Head Start program at Peters Elementary this school year. The remainder of the fund was used to support one classroom teacher for full-day kindergarten, she said at that time.
In other business, the board:
- Approved, on a 5-0 vote, with two abstentions, a resolution for the 2012-13 Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit Operational and Program Services budget. Directors Lauren Ganser and Robin Distler abstained. Directors Donna Kulp and Natalie Green were absent. Total expenditures equal $2,127,918, which represents a decrease of $303,138 (12.48-percent) over the 2011-12 budget. Northern Lehigh's share is proposed to be $19,598, a decrease of $11 from the 2011-12 budget. A copy of the budget was distributed at the Feb. 13, 2012 board meeting.
- Approved, on a 5-0 vote, with abstentions from Ganser and Distler, a resolution for the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute general fund budget and Academic Center expenditures for the 2012-13 school year. The general fund budget total is $23,097,730, which represents an increase of $401,910, or 1.77 percent. The district's portion of the 2012-13 general fund budget is $951,110, a decrease of $4,282. The expenditures for the Academic Center budget for the period of July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013, total $1,374,290, an increase of $44,460, or 3.34 percent. The district's portion is $39,960, a decrease of $10,746. A copy of the budget was distributed at the Feb. 13, 2012 school board meeting.
- Approved, on a 7-0 vote, a resolution for the 2012-13 Lehigh Carbon Community College Sponsor contribution budget. Total expenditures equal $6,381,551, which represents an increase of $49,057 (0.8 percent) over the 2011-12 budget. The district's share of the total budget is $231,996, a decrease of $11,492, or 4.7 percent. A copy of the budget was distributed at the Feb. 13, 2012 school board meeting.